YSU Nursing Director Wagner Named 1st Tressel Chair in Leadership

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Nancy Wagner, director of the Centofanti School of Nursing at Youngstown State University, has been named the inaugural President James P. Tressel Endowed Chair in Leadership.

Created earlier this year through a $1.6 million gift from trustees of the YSU Foundation, the endowment will be presented annually to a department chairperson. With it comes a stipend and expense to support further development of the department.

“Dr. Wagner’s hard work, expertise and her commitment to the nursing profession over the course of more than 25 years at YSU has grown the Nursing program into a crucial component in the healthcare workforce locally and across the region,” said provost Brien Smith in a statement. “We are fortunate to have someone of Nancy’s caliber and passion, and we are proud to have her as our inaugural Tressel Endowed Chair in Leadership.”

Added Tressel: “The chairs of our academic departments on campus are the frontline leaders who have the potential to most impact our students, faculty and academic programs, so it is appropriate that we recognize and help advance their work. Dr. Wagner has done a fantastic job leading our great Centofanti School of Nursing, and there is no one more deserving of this honor.”

Wagner leads YSU’s nursing program, which has more than 425 undergraduate students, 160 graduate students and 4,300 alumni. Students provide nearly 95,000 hours of clinical service each academic year.

“No one has shown greater leadership at YSU and across the region than President Tressel, so I am honored to serve as the first Tressel Endowed Chair,” Wagner said. “This honor reflects the vision and perseverance of our dedicated nursing faculty and staff who deserve so much credit and thanks. As a group, we work hard to ensure student progression and success.”

She worked 15 years as a nurse prior to become a full-time faculty member at Youngstown State in 1995. She was named department chairwoman in 2013. Under her leaderships, the Centofanti School of Nursing developed a new doctorate in nursing practice for anesthesia students, established the annual White Coat Ceremony for entry-level sophomores, earned full accreditation by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, created a fully online RN-BSN completion program, created the Masternick Nursing Simulation Lab and won a total of $382,000 in grant funding to expand the RN-BSN and MSN education programs.

This past academic year, Wagner guided the renaming of the Nursing program to the YSU Centofanti School of Nursing, which included a $1 million pledge from the Centofanti Charitable Foundation. 

In addition, Wagner worked with a nursing faculty and student group to facilitate a mock COVID-19 drive-through testing experience for nursing students and was instrumental in orchestrating efforts to provide more than 4,800 COVID-19 vaccinations to those affiliated with the YSU community.

Wagner has received the YSU Distinguished Professor Award, the Watson Award for Excellence in Academic Leadership and the Award for Excellence from Case Western Reserve University’s Bolton School of Nursing, from which she earned her doctorate.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.